Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NADARS Newbury Radio Rally

Each year on Fathers day the Newbury and District Amateur Radio Society organise their rally which has been at the Newbury Showground for the last few years.

For anyone not familiar, radio rallies or hamfests as they are sometimes known are a show organised by an amateur radio society. They usually take the form of a field with trade stands, a club stand and a car boot section. There is often a very varied mix of things on sale from old wartime radios, military surplus, old broadcast equipment, telecom equipment, components to computers and all manner of bits and pieces.

 This has always been one of the nicest rallies and one which has been on my list of favourites since about 1993, so I thought I'd share a few photos of the day.

We got there a little late, but it was still a good day. I picked up a few bits for the DATV station I'm planning on building, an NDS CSR820 MPEG2 IRD and some L-Band filters and splitters. I also met an old friend which was nice.
It was a bit of a drive (4 hours) but still happy I went.

73 de M1BSC :-) 


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Maker Faire Newcastle 2011

 Maker Faire Newcastle, UK 2011

Last week Makers and Hackers from all over the world converged on the Centre for Life in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne for the UK's third Maker Faire.  Maker Faire is an event organised by O'Reilly's Make magazine to bring together art, crafts, technology, engineering and science projects and to celebrate and encourage the Do it Yourself mindset.

The BBC's Research and Development and Television Platforms groups were there meeting the public and making friends with other Makers. We had several exhibits ranging from the fun Blink-o-tron with its trapped Weeping Angel, Conduct your own orchestra to the more serious Universal Control which allows subtitles to be sent to mobile devices.

 The Maestro demonstrates in an entertaining way our ability to interface to the Microsoft Kinect and to use thedata provided to control video playback. Basically you use the baton and move your hands in the manner of an orchestral conductor and you can control the volume and tempo of the music.

We also showed a concept device which presented a different way of accessing the BBC's Radio archive. The 'Wayback Machine' is designed to look as much like a traditional radio as possible, retaining simple controls, but allows the date and time to be 'tuned' in.

An example of the BBC's collaboration with Newcastle University was also on show with the Tune Table, a device which was developed by one of the universities students while on placement with R&D.

The Tune Table was built to explore the control metaphore and investigate its applications for areas such as video editing.

We also tried to entertain (and sometimes scare) some of the visiting children with our Blink-o-tron and its trapped Weeping Angel from Doctor Who.  This is an example of some basic microcontroller hacking using an Arduino, some LED's and some pieces of plexiglass which works on he principle of Pepper's Ghost. Don't Blink!

There was also a homebrew tapeless camera system on display which lead us nicely into conversations about how the BBC are moving towards using systems such as INGEX and the Digital Media Initiative (DMI).

We also met with and talked to a great many members of the public about the work we do and we dealt with many enquiries about our employment opportunities at BBC North in Salford.

What the other bloggers are saying:-

  Video: Brendan Crowther, Laura Chalmers, Ian Calvert, Bruce James
  Photos: Bruce James
  Blog: Bruce James, Yameen Rasul
  Organisation: Max Leonard, Yameen Rasul
  On the stand: Max Leonard, James Barrett, Tom Bartindale, Bruce James Andrew Bowden, Ian Calvert, Mo McRoberts

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wayback Machine visits Maker Faire

Getting the Wayback Machine ready for Maker Faire.

Since the last update the radio has gone through some drastic hardware changes.  There is still an Arduino driving the LCD and user interface but the backend has been replaced by a Beagleboard running Angstrom Linux.  This has enabled the radio to stream and play MP3 files and also allows the use of Wifi or 3G data dongle.

BBC R&D North visited Maker Faire in Newcastle on the 12th and 13th of March 2011.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Git crib sheet

Been using Git lately. 
Much goodness to be had, but some commands are a little unfamiliar if coming from Subversion.
So, here's my crib sheet of handy Git recipes I think will be useful.

Configure your Git
bash-3.2$ git config --global "CustardCat"
bash-3.2$ git config --global ""
bash-3.2$ git config --global -l

Create a new project and commit your code...

# Create a project and cd into it..
cd my_project

# Make the project a git project
git init

# Add all the files in the project to git
git add .

# Commit your local files
git commit

Get status, logs & diffs
# Status of changes
git status

# Diffs
git diffs

# Add more files
git add file1 file2 etc..

# See what's been happening
git log
git log --stat --summary
git log --pretty=oneline

# See diffs between versions. nb. only need first few chars of version
git diff 16f8..8bd2
git diff HEAD^..HEAD

Reverting & adding files
# Throw all uncommitted changes away (revert)
git reset --hard

# Edit the commit message
git commit --amend

# Add forgotten files to the last commit
git reset --soft HEAD^
git add forgotten.file.txt
git commit

Ignoring files

#Ignore files - also can use wildcards
vi .gitignore
git add .gitignore
git commit

Branches & Tags
# Making a branch
git branch splendid_branch

# View Branches - asterisk shows the current branch
git branch

# Switch to the new branch
git checkout splendid_branch

# Switch back to master
git checkout master

# Merge the branch into master
git merge splendid_branch

# Tagging - use tag names in place of the revision ids
git tag v1.2.3

Cloning & updating clone
# Clone a repository
git clone git:// my_blah
cd my_blah

# Pull changes from origin (update from upstream)
git pull origin

# Check logs since pull
git log -p ORIG_HEAD../some/dir

# Extract patches 
git format-patch HEAD^
git format-patch origin

# Pull from branch and merge
git pull git:// ALL

# Revert a pull
git reset --hard ORIG_HEAD

# Garbage collect
git gc

# Update tags from original
git fetch --tags